Making Regency Reticules (2018)

I was packing up all my dresses, gowns and accessories for the Louisville Jane Austen Festival over the weekend and remembered my reticules from last year were too small for our iPhones, much less anything else.  Keeping in mind I would rather spend money at the festival than buy more materials to make new bags I opted to go through my fabric stash. The ones I chose are probably much heavier than what I really wanted, but they did keep their shape pretty well.  I chose two pieces that were upholstery fabric samples that I got a few years ago. For decorative trim I used some fringe left over from making my parasol and some left over from when I redecorated my family room and made pillows.

I had found a pattern from JASNA online but didn’t want my reticules to look like everyone else so I tried looking at some extant fashion plates.  This one really caught my eye.

Working from a drawing means I have some leeway in how the final puse should turn out.  I decided the design could be three dimensional with four points around the perimeter of the bag with tassels from each point, or flat with a tassel on each side.  With that in mind I created two patterns.  One for flat and one for 3D.

I’ve always had a knack for imagining how things go together, and really enjoy it, so I started with the 3D idea first Using a plain fabric that I hoped would become my lining, I cut four, 8 3/4″ squares and sewed them together, then cut 1 1/2″off the top corner.

The shape worked, so I cut and sewed the squares from the upholstery fabric.

Oops. Its really obvious I wasn’t careful with how the stripes were cut.










I then put the lining inside and sewed the top, making sure I left a casing for the cording.  (If I was do this over I would have bought smaller cording because I didn’t have enough room for the cording to run both ways, which would have made the bag hang better.)



I knew I needed tassels so I created some from the fringe left over from making my parasol. 


Cutting fringe to create tassels.
Curl up fringe and wrap with thread to make tassels.

These pictures are from the other fringe, but you get the idea.  Snip off a piece of the fringe, roll it up, and wrap with thread.  Voila!  You have a tassel!






And here is the finished product. 


Of course I had to make a new one for my daughter, to, so I used my vision as if the extant was flat.  

I followed much of the same techniques, cutting a sample from what would become a lining fabric, sewing it all together with a casing, adding tassels, etc.  On this one I opted to sew the lining (left over from my ball gown with a curve at the bottom so things won’t get lost in the point in the bottom.  





Luckily it is still big enough to hold the most important piece of historical costuming. The phone to take pictures with.  ; )

Checking to make sure the necessities fit.


And there was still room for gloves, a fan, lip balm, etc.







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